Nutter, Union Reach Deal After 5 Years

Standoff with city workers had long been a dent in the mayor's armor.

6ABC reports Mayor Nutter has reached a contract with the union that represents City Hall’s white-collar workers.

It was a historic moment. 3,500 union member of District Council 47 had been without a contract since 2009. There had been some contentious and heated issues which centered on furloughs, healthcare and pension reform.

Back in September, the union ousted its president, Cathy Scott and put Fred Wright in charge and everything changed.

“Fred Wright is a man of integrity, he is a man of his word, he is a hard working serious focused individual who I have come to enjoy working with,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.

The Inquirer on what the city gets, and what the union gives:

The city estimates that it will cost $122 million over the next five years, which Nutter called “a substantial challenge for our budget, but one that we believe is warranted on behalf of our employees and taxpayers.”

Nutter achieved several of the major changes he sought, including a new health-care-funding arrangement and a rule that prevents employees from earning overtime during weeks when they took paid sick leave and worked fewer than 40 hours.

But he made substantial compromises as well. For instance, new employees will not automatically enter into a less-costly pension plan that his administration designed. Instead, they will have the option of choosing the new plan or paying 1 percent more of their pay into the pension fund.


While Nutter attributed the deal to a change in union leadership, the mayor faced pressure of his own, NBC 10 reports:

On Monday, all 16 members of the city council sent an open letter to Mayor Nutter, asking Nutter to negotiate a new contract with the union as well as District Council 33.

“It is time to have a serious conversation about the five-year impasse between your Administration and the workers who provide vital services our residents expect and deserve,” they wrote. “It is simply unfair for thousands of our blue collar workers to remain frozen in a time of recession-induced fear and uncertainty. The City of Philadelphia must reconsider its contract demands, and AFSCME District Council 47 and District Council 33 workers must show a willingness to negotiate.”

The contract with AFSCME runs eight years, retroactive to 2009 and ending in 2017. No word on how the settlement might affect talks with District Council 33.